Sunday 21 October 2018

Martin O'Neill calls for 'creativity' at the Aviva after Ireland labour to a draw in Copenhagen

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-off 1st Leg match between Denmark and Republic of Ireland at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-off 1st Leg match between Denmark and Republic of Ireland at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARTIN O'Neill says that Ireland need to be better with the ball in Dublin if they are to qualify for the World Cup.

The Irish manager was reasonably satisfied with his team's display in a scoreless draw in Denmark tonight but admitted that a more subtle approach will be required to unlock Age Hareide's side in the return fixture.

He refused to state that Ireland have the initiative after avoiding defeat in the Parken Stadium, pointing out that an away goal for Denmark in the return would leave O'Neill's men requiring two to advance.

"It was tough going," said O'Neill, "We would obviously want to be better with the ball in Dublin playing in front of our home fans. In all honesty, we would need to be. I think it's very evenly poised. I believe we are capable of scoring but we'll have to show a bit more creativity.

"It was a tough evening... the pitch was tough too.

"We're in here battling and it's all to play for on Tuesday night

"We're playing away from home, it's very difficult. The onus is on the home side to try and break the team down. We've set out with a game plan and we had one or two chances as well, particularly with Cyrus doing well down the righthand side.

"We didn't get the goal and they might think that nil-nil is a good result for them. We have to win a game. We have to win a game at the Aviva.

"We had to win at Wales, we had to win the game before that to make the Welsh game important. We had to do that and we did."

O'Neill was happy that all of his players that were one yellow card away from suspension escaped sanction in a game where there was no bookings. "That's remarkable really," he said. "It was a real physical battle and the pitch was awkward. The players put a real effort into the game."

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